Today my wife, Laurel, and I took our much-beloved dog, ZuZu, to the Willamette Humane Society WillaMutt Strut event in Salem's Riverfront Park. Somehow I managed not to cry while ZuZu and I strolled around, though I teared up a few times.
Our vet has told us that ZuZu is in the late stages of her chronic liver disease. We've been told she could live for weeks or months, not years. So likely this was our dog's last Mutt Strut, though we can't be sure about this.
But that made it special -- like every day we spend with ZuZu is. Knowing that she probably doesn't have long to live causes us to be grateful for the many moments we've already enjoyed with her, and the uncertain number of moments that remain.
Here's photos of the pleasant moments we had with ZuZu at this year's WillaMutt Strut.
At first Laurel wore her official Humane Society dog walking volunteer apron, but then was told she could take it off. ZuZu is greeting a Collie that belongs to another volunteer. I always think "Lassie," which shows how old I am.
So much to see. So much to smell. So much to taste. ZuZu had a good time, though she got tired after a few circuits around the ring of booths.
There were so many cute dogs, I couldn't take photos of all of them. So I pressed the button on my iPhone only when one especially caught my eye. Like, this dog.
Husky? Or Husky mix. Regardless, this dog looked nicely fuzzy.
I always wonder what three dogs who just met are (wordlessly) saying to each other. Of course, likely us humans wouldn't be able to grasp it even if canines could express themselves in English.
Looks like one of the dogs had a final message to whisper in ZuZu's ear, while the other dog was talking to ZuZu's butt.
This girl had a marvelously well-trained dog. Of course, the Balloon breed is known for its willingness to obey its owner.
This ballerina looked fetching in its tu-tu. Wasn't all that excited about having its picture taken, though. Artistic performers are notoriously flighty.
ZuZu met up with two dog friends from our neighborhood. They're very good-natured, as is evident from their smiling expressions.
Sign of the times. I'm a believer in CBD. I take it myself, and got some pet CBD drops to give to ZuZu in her food after her liver disease worsened. I figure it won't hurt her, and could be helping her -- physically and/or mentally.
Totally agree. Well, except for the fact that sometimes drugs are necessary.
My wife keeps telling me that I need a little dog. Not yet. Not now. But maybe someday. They sure are cute.
Quite a few booths offered dog biscuit treats. ZuZu loved them. This booth, though, had whipped cream in little cups. Yum! Great idea. ZuZu licked it up with zeal.
This was the ballon animal adoption booth. Looks like this little girl wanted more than the one she had in hand.
In previous WillaMutt Strut years ZuZu and I would take part in the 5k walk, back when our dog had lots of energy and pulled me along most of the way. This year we passed it up, given her poor health. Hey, life is change. And not always for the better.
This was an impressive display of dog balancing on some sort of therapy ball. But it struck me that if a dog is able to sit or stand on the ball, seemingly it is in pretty darn good shape.
Good try. Our dog wasn't fooled by this fake animal, though.
This girl said, "Can I pat your dog?" "Absolutely," I told her. When I take ZuZu to the Minto Brown Island dog park, she usually spends more time going up to people to be patted, than to possible dog playmates.
ZuZu seemed to enjoy borrowing Laurel's volunteer badge. At least, that's how I interpret her expression. But maybe that's a tired look, since this was the last photo I took before we left the WillaMutt Strut event -- not exactly strutting back to our car. ZuZu was able to walk to the parking lot, though. Slowly.
I'll end with another photo Laurel took of ZuZu and me, where I'm capless. I like how ZuZu and I are both gray around the muzzle.